Skip to main content

Full text of "The Cambridge Natural History"

See other formats


144                        DESCRIPTION   OF   WOMBAT                         CHAP.

Stib-Fam, 3.  Phascoloxnyinae.—PhascQlomys> the Wombat, is

the only genus of this sub-family. This animal has the appearance
of a heavily-built Marmot, like which it has a mere stump for a
tail, and a pair of strong chisel-shaped and Rodent-like incisors,
which, however, differ from those of Eodents in having a complete
coating of cement. All the teeth of the animal are rootless, and
there are no canines. The incisors have enamel on the front and
lateral faces only. The dental formula is I -J- C g- Pm •£ M f. The
affinities with other Diprotodont Marsupials are shown by the
commencing syndactyly of the second and third toes. The

FIG. 71.—Woinbat.   Phascolomys wombat.     x -^r.
rhiiiarium is naked or hairy. There is a rudimentary cheek-
pouch, as in Phascolarctos. The Wombat has, like the
Koala, and also the Beaver—which does away with some of the
value of the comparison — a peculiar gland - patch in the
stomach, a raised area of collected glands. In no other Marsupial
is such a structure found, " whilst in the two forms under con-
sideration its identity is almost precise. That such a unique
structure should have been independently developed in two forms
unrelated to each other, appears to me to be ia the highest degree
improbable." This is Mr. Forbes* opinion. It might be strength-
e|ied by adding the observation that, as there are other points of
likeness between, the Wombat and the Koala, it seems more unlikely
identical should   have   been   twice